Strong IT compliance programs are more critical today than ever. The number of legally binding regulations is increasing across all verticals, especially in heavily regulated market segments like academia, banking, finance, government, healthcare and insurance.
Globally, organizations face more than 300 security and privacy-related standards, regulations and laws, with more than 3,500 specific controls. The regulations themselves are becoming stricter and more specific at a time when data breaches and network hacks are at an all-time high.
Non-compliant organizations face stiff penalties for failure to adhere to prescribed mandates for accounting, data privacy, security and other rules of operation. Lack of compliance also puts companies at greater risk for litigation, lost business and damage to their reputations.
The regulations exist for a reason. They apply a standard set of policies for conducting business operations in ways that secure applications and ensure data privacy. The mandates also help enterprises maintain control over increasingly complex, integrated but disparate systems, services and human resources across their private, public and hybrid cloud environments.
That doesn’t make it easy to actually implement and abide by the regulations. For example, in a survey of 149 healthcare IT professionals in Peak 10’s 2014 National IT Trends in Healthcare Study, 94 percent said government mandates have at least some impact on their IT decisions and strategy. However, the study also revealed that compliance mandates and regulations were taxing increasingly limited resources and already overburdened IT staffs. Further complicating matters is the fact that many C-level executives and IT administrators simply lack the expertise to navigate the maze of government and industry regulations.
It doesn’t help that federal, state and local governments, as well as specific vertical industries, are tightening policies and procedures involving a wide range of issues such as accounting, data privacy, financial record keeping and information security. Implementation of laws is also increasingly burdensome as agencies engage in rule-making to define how the public must comply with established law. This is further exacerbated through trickle-down contracts between organizations and their service providers, partners and suppliers.
In response to increasing regulatory oversight, third-party hosted data center and cloud services providers like Peak 10 are continuing efforts to maintain the appropriate industry certifications and implement strong compliance programs. Organizations that partner with third-party managed services providers can alleviate some of the burden on their IT departments. For many, that translates into being able to devote resources to more strategic endeavors – like delivering better patient care and services. Utilizing the services of a trusted, experienced third-party managed services provider can also cut down on configuration and deployment errors mitigate risk and deliver a near-immediate Return on Investment (ROI).
Bottom line: the compliance landscape isn’t getting any easier to navigate — but with the right partners, you don’t have to go it alone.